The joint federal and provincial government announcement to hook up high-speed internet was well received in the municipal world. However, since the release of the explanatory map of high speed coverage in the last budget of the Legault government, questions have been raised by many.
Patrick Bousez, mayor of Rivière-Beaudette and prefect of the Vaudreuil-Soulanges RCM, does not understand the map he has in front of his eyes. According to it, in 2022, 95% of its RCM should be connected to high speed. This number may seem high, but it is the same percentage as it is now.
“This is an absurd situation, said Mayor Bousez. We’re 45 minutes from downtown Montreal and we’re not even sure we’ll be hooked up next year. More than 2,000 homes are not connected to high speed in Vaudreuil-Soulanges. This is an unacceptable situation.”
Before going to the barricades, the prefect awaits confirmation of connection contacts and details of the agreement.
“It’s absurd, he says. The houses in a neighborhood in Rivière-Beaudette are one kilometer from the optical fiber and are still not connected. There has long been a pole war between internet providers and Hydro-Quebec. There has been a lack of will from companies to hook up houses for a long time and I hope that will change.”
The federal government is following the project closely
Asked about the unveiling of the internet coverage map, Claude DeBellefeuille is delighted that part of her riding in Haut-Saint-Laurent is covered at 99%. However, she does not understand Quebec’s inaction in Soulanges.
“I am very familiar with internet problems, said the MP. I live in an area without high speed internet and this is causing headaches for my team and myself. Everyone should be connected in our two regions.”
She nevertheless underlines the federal government’s gesture to give Quebec the means to take care of its own internet coverage.
“There are a lot of assumptions that can be made regarding internet coverage in Soulanges, but we have to wait for contract confirmations, says Mrs. DeBellefeuille. I can’t wait to see how they do it in the Haut-Saint-Laurent, which should be connected to high speed at 99% in 2022.”
For his part, the mayor of Saint-Anicet, Gino Moretti, is happy to see the project advance. He believes high speed coverage should be automatic in the regions.
“I have people who work from home or who have cabins in my municipality, said the chief magistrate. Citizens should be able to work from home without any trouble.”
However, he remains cautious and waits to see if the actions match the words.